New $100 Bill Gets a Facelift

BY Tom LeGro  April 21, 2010 at 12:38 PM EST

In the appropriately named Cash Room of the Department of the Treasury, Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios, along with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, unveiled a new design of the $100 bill Wednesday morning. Updated with multiple layers of new anti-counterfeiting technology but still uniquely American in style, it is the third version of the greenback, which was originally released into circulation in 1969 and previously redesigned in 1996.

When redesigning this bill, function definitely drove form. A design group known as the Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence Steering Committee — composed of representatives from the Federal Reserve, Department of Treasury and the Secret Service — first identified any new counterfeiting threats before drafting the new version.

The new $100 bill has two anti-counterfeiting features not seen in recent redesigns of other denominations: a 3-D security ribbon woven into the paper and a Liberty Bell that changes color depending on viewing angle.

Other features include a watermark portrait of Benjamin Franklin, microprinted words within images, raised printing on portions of the bill and a security thread that glows pink under ultraviolet light.

$100 billConsumers will also notice changes in the overall design of the bill. In the new iteration, for example, designers shed the classic oval frame surrounding Franklin’s portrait. Enlarged and shifted left, Franklin’s image is balanced with new patriotic images, including a quill and ink pot and a selection from the Declaration of Independence. The back features a new image of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.

One of the more noticeable changes is the addition of color beyond the distinctively American “patent” green. Designers hope hues of orange, bronze and yellow will help individuals with visual impairments distinguish the denomination from other notes.

The new $100 note will enter circulation in February 2011.